Posts in Category "Under the hood"

September 12, 2009

get the file size you want …

File size could be an important consideration in creating eLearning contents especially in cases when it has to be put on websites or blogs. I was going through few discussions on web about file sizes best practices in Adobe Captivate. There are many things which you could do to reduce the file size. Most of them revolves around the quality of the assets inside the courses. The higher the quality – higher the file size.

If trying out the best practices is too cumbersome for you here is something from under the hood –

Go to “Publish” dialog.

Click on the hyperlink. It will be “custom” by default. You will get following dialog –

Play with the file size slider to get the result you want. This can also be used to create different size/quality content for different audiences. For web it could be of low size – low quality. For others cases it could be high quality – more size.

Posted by Rajeev Kumar1:33 AM Permalink
September 1, 2009

Captivate variables – how to access and control them from external movies..

Adobe Captivate 4 has a feature using which you can access and control captivate movies from external movies. You can find more details here.

Here is how you access Adobe Captivate movie variables from external swf:

Action Script 3:
Ex: root.rdinfoCurrentSlide, root.cpInfoAuthor

Action Script 2:
Ex: _root.rdinfoCurrentSlide, _root.cpInfoAuthor

Note : Few of the variables in Captivate AS2 movie are defined inside movie class. Hence cannot be accessed directly with _root. In these cases<variable_name> is the correct way to access variables defined inside rdmovie class. As a general rule, for AS2 to access a variable we should first try access it using _root.<variable_name>, if that comes undefined, then access using<variable_name>.

Variables that are defined inside the movie class are: cpInfoCurrentDateString, cpInfoCurrentDate, cpInfoCurrentMonth, cpInfoCurrentYear, cpInfoCurrentDay, cpInfoCurrentTime, cpInfoCurrentHour, cpInfoCurrentMinutes, cpInfoEpochMS, cpCmndVolume, cpInfoElapsedTimeMS, rdcmndGotoSlide, cpCmndGotoFrameAndResume, rdcmndNext, rdcmndPlaybarMoved, rdcmndMute, rdcmndCC, rdisMainMovie, cpInfoCurrentSlide, cpInfoCurrentSlideType

Blog post by – Deepak R, Adobe Captivate


Posted by Rajeev Kumar1:12 PM Permalink
July 21, 2009

Sending e-mail on completion of a course (without quiz or question slides)

Have you ever felt the need of sending an e-mail notification as soon as a course or a captivate demonstration is over. We know about the “Send E-Mail” button in the Results slide but what if there are no question slides or quiz in your project??

Here is how you could do this very easily using the following steps:

1. Add a question slide and then remove the quiz slide so that only the result slide remains. In the result slide delete everything and just have"Continue" and "Send E-mail" butons. Add a caption saying "Click the button blah…blah to send the progress etc."

2. Remove the playbar (scrubber) so that the end user has to go thru each of the slides in the demo project.

3. In the Quiz->Reporting->E-Mail and enter the email id of the person to whom the mail needs to be sent.

4. In this case he shall get an e-mail with the scores showing 0, 0, 0, but he shall get an intimation saying that a particular user has completed the course. But if he wants to make it more readable he needs to change the “email_attach.htm" which can be found at InstallDirectory\Adobe\Adobe Captivate 4\Templates\Publish and change the parameters for:

function sendMail()


      var  konq, saf, moz;

      document.emailForm.action = ‘mailto:’ + gstrEmailTo + ‘?subject=’ + gstrEmailSubject

      document.emailForm.elements["Results"].value = "\r" + gstrEmailBody;

      konq = ( navigator.userAgent.indexOf( ‘Konqueror’ ) != -1 );

      saf = ( navigator.userAgent.indexOf( ‘Safari’ ) != -1 );

      moz = ( navigator.userAgent.indexOf( ‘Gecko’ ) != -1 && !saf && !konq);



            document.emailForm.enctype = ‘text/plain’;




So, try this to see if its helpful.

Posted by Sikandar Pradhan12:10 PM Permalink
July 6, 2009

Hidden Feature of Adobe Captivate 4

Easter egg is a hidden feature of Adobe Captivate 4 which is no way related to the functionality of the product.
It is a flash demo which contains photos of a lot of people who worked quite hard to bring this versions of Adobe Captivate to you.

To access the feature go to Help->About Adobe Captivate, The about dialog will pop up.
Now press “End” key. Be patient! and there you go.

Posted by Arif Ali Saiyed8:09 PM Permalink
June 24, 2009

Reduce your editing hours!! Create training & assessment modules from one Captivate project

Time! Needless to say that it is one thing every one of us is short of….

Captivate 3 introduced multi-mode recording- wherein you could record an application once, and generate 3 different projects from this recording- a demo, a simulation (training) and an assessment. This was a big timesaver. Now I’ll show you a way how you can take this one step further. Many a time, you would end up going into your recorded projects and making further fine grained edits to ensure that the project looks and behaves exactly as you envisioned. These edits will have to be repeated in each project mode (demo, simulation, assessment).

Today I’ll show you how you can create one recorded project, make the edits on this project, and then generate both the Training and Assessment modules in one shot (hence cutting your post production time in half!).

Let’s take an example:

Say you need to create a training and assessment module for “How to delete cookies in Internet Explorer?” The steps involved are:

Step 1: In the internet explorer, click on the ‘tools’ button.

Step 2: Select Internet options

Step 3: Under general tab, click on the ‘Delete’ button.

Step 4: In the Delete browsing history window, check the ‘cookies’ checkbox.

Step 5: Click the ‘Delete’ button.

 First of all let me tell you what is the difference between a training and an assessment module….both of these files are exactly the same with a small difference that in training file you have an extra ‘hint caption’ which assists an end user  as in what he/she is supposed to do next. This ‘hint caption’ is absent in an assessment module.

Now let’s get our hands dirty with the actual procedure… Go to edit> preferences> recording> modes> and ensure that ‘hint captions’ and ‘failure captions’ for both ‘click boxes’ and ‘text entry boxes’ are checked (as shown in the movie below). Record your project in ‘training’ mode. This recorded project can now be edited (post production) and published as your training module. Now to generate the assessment module, you open the project, select any one of the click boxes, and suppress the hint caption for that click box. Now you do an ‘apply all’ to disable all the hint captions across the project. A similar step should be followed when you have a text entry box. Watch this Captivate movie to see the detailed steps involved.

So now you know how you could save your editing hours!! Happy authoring….


Posted by Manish Anand10:21 PM Permalink
June 17, 2009

Captivate 4 update page

Adobe Captivate 4 patch update is already live and many must have already installed it. Some customers faced problems installing the update from the Adobe Updater due to security reasons, firewalls set in their organizations.

Now Adobe Captivate 4 patch update is also available on web and can be downloaded from the following link –

You just need to download the patch ZIP file, unzip it and run the ‘setup.exe’.

To know more about the issues resolved in patch update, please click here.

Posted by Mukul Vinay Lele12:31 PM Permalink
June 11, 2009

Productivity tip: Quickly convert auto captions to voice over narration

Audio narration is an integral part of an eLearning course and till now one needed to hire external resources to do voice overs to their projects. Gone are those days – You can now do it yourself using Adobe Captivate 4’s new text-to-speech feature.

But there is one limitation in this. Only the text in slide notes panel can be converted to speech. Now when recording (capturing) an application, Captivate generates auto captions for all the steps involved. This is a huge time saver.  You might now want to convert these captions to audio narration, as these captions are already telling a story and you don’t want to reinvent the wheel. You can do it in following way –

  • Go to each slide. Find the captions you want to convert. Write the text to notes panel and convert to speech.
  • To save time you can copy paste the text of captions to notes panel.

The drawback to above approach is that there is a lot of manual steps needed and finding each caption and pasting it to the notes panel in a large project can be tedious.

Here is a simple tip to enhance your productivity in converting these auto captions to voice over narrations:

  • Open the captured project where you want to use this functionality.
  • Go to menu – Audio -> Record. You get the following dialog. Though this is audio recording dialog but we will use just a part of its functionality to alter our slide notes –

Continue reading…

Posted by Rajeev Kumar7:28 PM Permalink
May 30, 2009

Captivate 4 patch update

Adobe Captivate 4 patch is now LIVE!

Today we released a patch for Adobe Captivate 4 patch. The key driver for this patch was the degradation in audio quality as reported by some of our customers. This update fixes several elements that were causing issues in the audio workflow. It also includes fixes for some other niggling concerns that were reported/ discovered post launch. The full details are below.

Do note that the Captivate 4 patch is not a critical update and hence will not be downloaded automatically on your systems. You will need to follow the menu items ‘Help > Updates’ and download the patch update. Once the update installs, Captivate 4 version number should read 1658.

Let me now run you through the fixes which have been included in this patch:

  • Audio Quality improvement –
    • In Captivate 4, some users observed poor audio quality in the published movie. We’ve addressed all the elements that caused this issue. With this patch you will see a noticeable improvement in the audio quality.
  •       USB Microphone support for Vista setups  and working well with RealTek and Sigma Tel soundcards –

    Captivate failed to recognize USB microphones on the Vista OS. Also, in some instances, specific sound cards were not recognized. Both these issues have now been resolved in the patch.

  • Open another project’ now works from any location –

    In Captivate 4, the navigation option ‘open another project’ was based on an absolute path. This led to issues when these linked projects were published and moved to a different location. This has now been resolved.

  • Inserting objects at playhead position –

    We have worked on an important productivity issue. Now it’s possible to insert objects at the exact position the playhead is on. This is helpful for content developers as they can easily play the slide on timeline, pause the slide at a specific time, and insert objects at the playhead position.

  • Memory Leak in Image insertion and Editing –

    Few customers had reported memory leak issues while inserting and editing images. These have been investigated. The leak was significant only in a specific case and has been resolved now.

  • Image quality while resizing is improved –

    There was some degradation in the image quality when images were resized inside Captivate 4. This patch will help address this.

  • HTML page Title –

    Captivate now picks up the title name from Project preferences > Project name section. This name appears as the HTML title when the project is published and viewed in a browser.

  • Question Type identification by LMS –

    This addresses a specific scenario in LMS reporting. We have worked on the way the question type data is reported to LMS systems.

  • PPT slides containing Master Templates work well with Captivate –
  • Some PPT files containing Master templates were getting corrupted once published from Captivate 4. This has now been resolved.

  • Widget Template is modified –

    Widget template had a few undefined variables which created compiling problems. This has been sorted out in this patch update.

We believe this patch will enhance your Captivate 4 experience. We look forward to your feedback on this.

Update: All those who cannot use the auto-updater to install the patch, can now download it from here:

Posted by Mukul Vinay Lele7:55 PM Permalink
May 29, 2009

Don’t let low bandwidth stop you from wearing that genious hat!!

You make a nice captivate movie with all jazz and background audio. And there pops up a hidden glitch – end users of your captivate movie are short on bandwidth. But you, Mr. genious knows it pretty well that you have pre-loaders in Captivate to your rescue. So you go ahead and set the pre-loader percentage to 10%. This would mean that the movie will start playing when 10% of the content has loaded, with the remaining content  loading as the movie plays. Wow!! You punch the air and all that….

Next day you get your users complaining that your preloader ‘rocket science’ is not working at all. The movie content loads 100% before starting regardless of preloader setting. Amused?? What did you do wrong?? Confused??…well this post will help you.

your problem is…

Your movie has background audio across the movie. Ideally, as soon as the movie is loaded(after 10% preloading), the content should start playing. But to play the first slide, the associated audio is needed and since there is only one big audio file, Captivate attempts to load the entire audio file(irrespective of the slides) prior to play the content. And this eats up the bandwidth.

….and the solution is….

Inside Captivate, for each slide start the audio after 0.1 second. This prevents the audio to be stiched as one huge audio file in the final output. Consequently this would prevent the need to load the entire audio when you don’t intend to do so. And your content will start playing flawlessly with audio once 10% of the entire content is loaded (assuming that you set pre-loader=10%). Rest of the content loads in background.

So with this solution you could once again wear that genious hat. WOW!!


Posted by Manish Anand1:16 PM Permalink

positioning your capture red area to the application boundaries

The workflow to do screen recordings has been changed in Adobe Captivate 4. The new workflow is more intuitive and user friendly. But do you sometimes feel that you are not able to position your recording area on the application exactly as you want.

For example – You want to record the browser window .In the scenario below you are not able to clearly position the window since the buttons of the capture window are blocking the browser window at corners

Would it help you if you were to hide the buttons and then reposition and resize the capture window. Press ALT and H key simultaneously. The window will look like the image below with buttons gone. You can position the capture window wherever you want.

When you are done press ALT and H simultaneously again. The buttons will come back as in image below –


Posted by Rajeev Kumar11:40 AM Permalink

Capturing scrollbars no more a menace

“I’m creating a demo on how to access a particular website. For distribution reasons I’m using a low res 800 X 600. This means that web pages need a lot of scrolling to navigate them. When playing back, the scrolling happens OK but then the image appears to jump back to the beginning of the scroll so that the mouse movements and text captions that follow are, although in the place they should be in relation to the viewing screen, are not pointing at the right bit of the web page.”

I am sure most of you must have experienced this scenario while capturing scrollbars using Adobe Captivate. Please see the following Captivate movie to get a hang of the issue, which is not exactly an issue but a preference option not utilised…. 

In order to avoid this issue please follow these steps prior to start automatic recording:

  • Launch Captivate and press Shift + F8. This launches the preferences dialog.
  • Browse to recording -> Settings.
  • On the right hand side there is a checkbox capture interim screenshot
  • Uncheck this option. Press Ok.

Now if you start automatic recording and  do the same scenario you would not run into the above issue.

Now in case if you face this issue and you are a position where-in you cannot re-capture then please see the following Captivate demo. This demo shows how to get the correct the slide image during edit time.


var addthis_pub=”shameerayyappan”;

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-7747520-1”);
} catch(err) {}

Posted by Manish Anand1:37 AM Permalink
April 27, 2009

VTML tags in Text to Speech !

VTML (VoiceText Markup Language) – This Powerful hidden gem in Text to Speech helps you control the generated speech by adding pause, changing the pitch etc !

This post on customizing text to speech Pronunciations received many comments requesting a way to control the generated speech with html like tags.

The interesting thing is that this feature is already there in Captivate 4 ! Even more interesting is the fact that it is so simple to use. All you need to do is insert the appropriate tags into the slide notes. You can type in (or copy paste) the tags just like you do any other text.

Just before making this post, I quickly tried few of them:
1. Hello I am here <vtml_pause time=”1000″/> for a break: Introduces a pause of 1 sec in between.
2. <vtml_speed value=”50″> This is my text </vtml_speed>: Helps you control the speed of the text

There are many more similar useful tags. The VTML tags are listed in the Appendix C of the document here. It has a examples as well on the usage.

Posted by Sony Kadavan2:10 PM Permalink
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